KPOD to BT1500A Block Diagram

The KY6R “maker area” in the shack. The radio part of the shack is to the left.

I was able to get a C program that the lead KPOD developer from Elecraft sent me to compile and run on the Raspberry Pi. I learned what a “HID” device is – Human Interface Device, and that the KPOD is not a standard HID (like a Mouse or Keyboard is), but is a HIDRAW device – HID and RAW, the RAW meaning “direct” for Linux. Here is a good explanation:

The compiled program runs as root but while it seems to spit out some identifiers, it can’t find the KPOD. I will consult with the developer, and I am sure there is a simple fix for this. I’ve read the code enough to have a good basic understanding of what it does – and luckily its C – which is something I have coded enough to be very comfortable with.

What I did learn from this is that I will most certainly need Raspberry Pi on the KPOD side, and Arduino on the BT1500A side. The KPOD needs a proper Operating System, the BT1500A is a “slave” and doesn’t need an OS.

So – later today (after a bike ride) I will get the Arduino and stepper motors spinning – most likely following something like this:

And the fellow who posted this has a very nice web site:

I found one other web site that shows how I could emulate having the KPOD working – its almost exactly what I need:

In fact, the only difference is that where he has a joystick, I will have a KPOD which forces me into a client – server architecture. In fact, to get this all set up with just the Arduino part, I’ll just use an Adafruit rotary encoder instead of the joystick he has. In fact, he also has a little control box with buttons so he can switch between motors – so it is exactly what I need.

I’m still highly motivated to use the KPOD because of its expandability beyond what it can control. Maybe eventually, the Function buttons will change bands on a wireless remote antenna switch (?) We shall see. I need to walk before I can run . . .

But as a fall back – I could just run with this design as well. In fact, I could even just use my laptop and the control “unit” could be software with a couple sliders on a screen. The BEST part of this project is that its a journey as I am learning – which is what makes it so much fun. It used to be to avoid becoming a total “DXCC Zombie” I worked on antennas – now that that phase is done – this Maker stuff is rapidly taking over – its highly addictive.

I’m going to come back to the Raspberry Pi and KPOD later (after I get help figuring out why its not being found), and will spend the rest of this 4th of July weekend emulating the BT1500A tuner and Arduino “slave” part of what is essentially a “client server”, or more like a “master – slave” system.


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